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Virtualisation, what is it and why do I need it?

Web Hosting Blog

With so much jargon in the world of hosting it can be difficult to understand what everything means. One of these technical buzzwords is virtualisation. In this blog post, we are going to break down what virtualisation is and how it benefits your business. 

Virtualisation is what enables you to create multiple virtual machines (VMs) on one piece of hardware. To put it another way, virtualisation allows you to run multiple servers from one physical server. 

Traditionally an operating system would take exclusive control of the hardware on which it runs. But by creating multiple VMs, you can run different operating systems and multiple applications from the same computer.

Most businesses don’t utilise the full resources available from their physical server. On average, most computers use as little as 5-10% of their available resources. This is where virtualisation can help. It allows businesses to utilise the physical hardware to its full capacity and potential by using untouched processing power and memory with multiple VMs.

How Does Virtualisation Work?

A layer of software called a hypervisor is added to a server which ‘virtualises’ the hardware (including the CPU, RAM and hard disk) allowing it to create virtual environments which run heir own individual operating systems and applications.

The software is otherwise known as a virtual machine manager which dynamically allocates the physical servers’ hardware resources in each virtual environment.

How can virtualisation benefit my business?

If you use a single dedicated server for each element of your IT e.g one for databases, one for email, and one for your e-commerce your business has to invest in physical hardware that will be massively underutilised.

Whereas, virtualising the server and creating a VM to handle each of these applications you use more hardwares resources.

Additionally, because VMs require less hardware, the power maintenance and data centre resources costs are lower. This reduction in hardware leads to virtualisation being used to reduce your carbon footprint, making it a great green option.

And finally, VMs allow greater flexibility. Because virtualisation is software-based, provisioning a new server takes minutes – rather than the days, or even weeks, it can take to provision a physical server.

For more information about virtualisation, get in touch with one of our specialists.